The world as we know it, dramatically changed. Within a short period of time, our daily routine was turned upside down, leaving people insecure and anxious about the future. Countries locked down, economies came to a halt, citizens been left without an income. COVID-19 has changed everyone’s life, but it also gave us an opportunity to learn our lesson as the population of planet Earth.

Governments released millions and millions in aid to encourage their citizens to stay at home. They released packages to protect businesses, whether they are small or large. They supported their healthcare so that they can cope with the outbreak. In a way, they acted so quickly, to stop the virus and protect their people. On the other hand, however, they did it out of fear. They were just as scared as any other citizen. This is a situation none of us experienced before. Not in the modern world. The world only just came to a realisation that we are, as human beings, vulnerable. Vulnerable to a situation when we don’t necessarily have control over the outcome, let alone the origin of it.

COVID-19 was, in a sense, unexpected. We didn’t know it will happen and even when we did, we had no idea it will affect so many. Nonetheless, governments acted rapidly and although it is far from being over we already learnt so much! The very first lesson that I learnt is that they can if they want! They can, if they are scared enough. Reacting so quickly to something that you didn’t expect shows me power and will. It also shows dedication for the cause, to save your people’s life.

The big question

So my question is, why weren’t decades enough to mitigate climate change? Why are governments still tossing this issue around like it is not important? We certainly cannot say, that they don’t know about it and it is unexpected. They know, that the damage we do to our environment will become irreversible (if it is not already). They know that ice caps will melt, sea levels will rise, islands and coastal cities will flood, species will go extinct because they cannot cope with their changing habitat.

Will their son know what does a Bornean Orangutan look like? That it even existed? Will their daughter know that there were breathtaking corals reefs in the ocean and how crucial it was to conserve that habitat? Will they remember what was life like when everything that you own wasn’t in grave danger from storms, floods, fire?

Nature doesn’t need people. We need nature. Everything you need to live comes from nature. It is a gift. I think we ought to appreciate it and do everything we can to avoid a future that awaits us. Because it will come if we don’t act. COVID-19 taught us that we can cooperate, we can act and stay strong if necessary. It taught us that governments can stand up if needed. We need leaders who tell the population that there is another, much bigger catastrophe on its way.

The lesson

What happens to the world now is tragic. But I also see the other side of the coin. We now know that you don’t always have to jump in the car to attend a meeting – in fact, online meetings work just fine! We now know how lucky we are to enjoy nature even for a short period of time when we take our daily exercise. After a long time, we have the time to finish that puzzle, play that board game and cook our dinner together, as a family. We now have the time to stop for two minutes and enjoy the Sun shining on our face, taste our coffee like we’ve never tasted it before.

The most important lesson we should take away from COVID-19 is that we never know when will life, as we know it end. We are responsible to protect it, not just for us, but for all the generations after us.

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